The mortal remains of a 30-year-old Indian woman, Soumya Santosh, were sent to India on Friday evening. She was killed in a rocket attack by Palestinian militants from Gaza.
Minister of External Affairs V. Muraleedharan was personally present to receive the remains. The body was sent to her hometown in Kerala from Delhi on Saturday itself.
“With a heavy heart, received the mortal remains of Ms. Soumya Santhosh in Delhi and paid my last respects”, said Muraleedharan.
With a heavy heart, received the mortal remains of Ms. Soumya Santhosh in Delhi and paid my last respects. CDA of Israel Embassy @RonyYedidia also joined.
I empathise with the pain and sufferings of the family of Ms. Soumya. More strength to them. pic.twitter.com/97bvOziCpG— V. Muraleedharan (@MOS_MEA) May 15, 2021
The jet carrying her body left from Ben-Gurion airport at around 7 PM on Friday and reached Delhi Saturday morning.
An aircraft carrying the mortal remains of Soumya Santosh has taken off for Delhi, the Indian embassy in Israel said in a tweet.
Aircraft carrying the mortal remains has taken off for Delhi. https://t.co/oTH9u4iTKS— India in Israel (@indemtel) May 14, 2021
"The mortal remains of Ms Soumya Santhosh, who was killed in rocket attacks from Gaza, are being repatriated today from Israel to Kerala through Delhi. They will reach her native place tomorrow," Muraleedharan had said in a tweet.
"I will personally be receiving the remains in Delhi. May her soul rest in peace," he further said.
Soumya, who hailed from Kerala’s Idukki district, worked as a caregiver attending to an old woman at a house in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon.
She was talking to her husband Santhosh over a video call in the evening on Monday when a rocket fired from Gaza directly hit the house where she was working.
The Indian caregiver was living and working in Israel for the last seven years. She has a nine-year-old son whom she had left with her husband in Kerala.
Her 80-year-old elderly charge survived the direct hit on the house and was hospitalised.
The rocket shelter was at least a minute's run away from the woman’s home and the pair could not manage to reach it in time.
The home lacked a fortified room of its own.
Some media reports said that a technical glitch with an Iron Dome battery (an all-weather air defence system that intercepts and destroys short range rockets) during the massive rocket barrage towards the Israeli coastal city prevented some rockets from being intercepted and may have been responsible for the casualties and deaths.
Ashkelon's Mayor Tomer Glam said that some 25 per cent of the residents do not have access to a protected area when rockets are fired at the city.
“It is impossible when normal life becomes a state of emergency within minutes,” Glam told Army Radio.
“There are houses from the 1960s where there is no basic protection. It is time for treasury officials and decision-makers to understand what is happening here in the city,” he stressed.
Israel's Ambassador to India, Ron Malka, condoled the death of the Indian woman on Twitter Wednesday.
“On behalf of the state of Israel, I convey heartfelt condolences to the family of Ms. Soumya Santosh, murdered by Hamas indiscriminate terror attack on innocent lives. Our hearts are crying with her 9 years old son that lost his mother in this cruel Terrorist attack,” he said in a tweet.
Nine Israelis and 119 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed so far since violence erupted on Monday that has spread across Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.